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Penn State football adds SEC coordinator, PA native to staff

James Franklin and Penn State football have officially hired Vanderbilt assistant Justin Lustig as the team’s special teams coordinator.

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Penn State football, James Franklin, Justin Lustig, coordinator
Penn State head football coach James Franklin motions from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA football game against Michigan at Beaver Stadium Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in State College, Pa.

Penn State football has officially hired Justin Lustig as its special teams coordinator. The move Wednesday comes after the decision was first reported Monday night. A native of Erie, Lustig has spent the last three seasons in the SEC at Vanderbilt. James Franklin chose Lustig to replace outgoing Nittany Lions special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach Stacy Collins, who left for Boise State last week.

Penn State officially hires PA native Justin Lustig as special teams coordinator

James Franklin did not wait long to replace Stacy Collins, who left Penn State football Friday to return to Boise State as the Broncos’ special teams coordinator and assistant head coach. On Monday night, Matt Zenitz of 247Sports reported that the Nittany Lions were set to hire Vanderbilt assistant Justin Lustig to fill the vacancy.

Lustig brings with him an accomplished 22-year coaching record to Happy Valley. He spent the last three seasons in the SEC at Vanderbilt, where he coached tight ends in addition to being the special teams coordinator and associate head coach. Lustig helped propel the Commodores into a top 50 unit in special teams efficiency after falling outside the top 100 prior to his arrival.

Before arriving in Nashville, Lustig spent time at Syracuse, where he was a 2018 Broyles Award nominee for the top assistant coach in college football. Other stops include Ball State, Eastern Illinois, and Villanova. Lustig has coached 53 all-conference selections over his career.

With his hiring as Penn State’s special teams coordinator made official on Wednesday, Justin Lustig is returning to his native Pennsylvania. Lustig hails from Erie and played defensive back at Bucknell before starting his coaching career.

SEC coach becomes third coordinator hire of offseason for James Franklin

They say all good things come in threes. Time will tell if that saying holds true for the Penn State football coaching staff in 2024.

Justin Lustig becomes the third coordinator that James Franklin has hired since the end of the 2023 regular season. Franklin hired Andy Kotelnicki to replace the fired Mike Yurcich as offensive coordinator. Tom Allen succeeds Manny Diaz on the defensive side of the ball after the former Penn State defensive coordinator left to become the next Duke head coach.



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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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